Today, Shea and I went to go see our last movie before the baby is born. We saw Narnia. It was a pretty damn good movie. I'm glad we went to go see it even if there were a billion kids there today.

But what I'm really psyched about is Pirates of the Carribean II. It opens July 7th, so I need to find a person that will willingly babysit sometime around then so that we can go see the movie. The first one is one of my absolute favorites and the second I'm sure will be right on up there cause the cast didn't change - Johnny Deep as Captain Jack Sparrow, Orlando Bloom as Will Tanner and Kierra Knightly as Elizabeth. It looks to be good.

Last night I slept in the house for the first time since August. We got our bedroom done. Well not completely done, there is still a few things that need doing like touchups, caulking, curtains, etc. I will have pictures up soon of the room with out anything in it. I really like how it turned out.

I'm so happy, still not ready for the baby but we are one step closer.

Wow, that means two weeks and 5 days till I'm due. That sounds alot closer than 19 days. But neither one of them sound too terribly far away.

I'm seriously hoping we actually get in the house this weekend, but it's not looking likely *sighs* but I'm still crossing my fingers.

My Doctor's appointment went well. Gained 4 pounds in one week lol, tho I think alot of that had to do with swelling today cause I was soooo warm in the clothes I choose to wear and the heat inside the building. My poor hands were balloons. They are better now so I know it was the heat that caused most of it. The doctor said I'm not dialated yet, but that the baby was head first. Yay! one less thing to worry about.

We are getting doors on the rooms put up right now. The baby's room has a door on it, and Shea **/// Edited by the OS Dijinni ///** were putting up our bedroom door. Next thing on the list will hopefully be the bathroom and the last door is the laundry room. That will cut down on the washing noise when we get back in the house, cause we'll be doing alot of that in the very near future, and not just from the baby lol, every article of clothing in the house needs to be washed. I also plan on getting rid of clothes I don't were, not so much as they don't fit cause nothing fits right now, but things that I just plain won't wear very often. I know what I do and don't wear and will take care of that while I'm doing the laundry.

The other day we found out friends of ours are expecting a little one, due in August. I'm happy for them. Then a few days after that we found out a friend of a friend who's kinda our friend, long story lol, is pregnant. And I know another couple of friends who are trying for a baby. And another of our friends is expecting in January, we've know about that for a while now. And me. Jason and Jennifer have already had their first child, I think he's around 5 or 6 months old now.

I guess it's time for our generation (so to speak) to start their families hehe.

On another general note, Shea's son is actually at our house. He spent the night last night so he could do some painting for us today. He got one door and the molding done, with two coats of paint. He's gonna wait for Shea's response before he adds another coat. Some of the areas on the door aren't turning out as expected but I don't think that's cause of his paint job. More likely the door.

(After RP with Caladesh)

Matalina had found something she’d been looking for in Four Kings, but it wasn’t a place she wanted to call home, that and Caladesh scared her in more ways than one – a male channeling was frightful enough, but the fact that she submitted to him so easily it scared her, she didn’t want to stay around in a place where he held control. Matalina wanted some control herself, and she needed to find a place to call home.

The fact that the Shadow was now gone as well as Marosa gave her hope that May and Kayla would disappear as well, or be absorbed by her own self as the other two had. Matalina needed to find the place that would allow that to happen and Four Kings was definitely not that place.

Aiden and Kate were growing nicely and Matalina was proud of their development and was glad Caladesh paid them little mind. Hopefully they could live a normal life.

Matalina left for Cameryln to study their fighting techniques and their military style. She’d been there before but studied the underworld. Now she would be studying those against the underworld. Matalina wondered if any of the men she’d met were around, in particular James Sen’eval. The man knew her secret, well one of her secrets. But Marosa was gone now, there was little fear in that rumor spreading. Though more and more Matalina was taking on the former personalities attitudes – even women could be found attractive at times.

The trip to Camerlyn was uneventful as most of her last two years had been. And Matalina wondered if she’d ever find anything that was of use to her other than finding a master so to speak.

In Camerlyn Matalina studied the Royal Guard while the children played in the green grass outside their training facilities. Most of the men there thought she was looking for a suitor and they tended to show off, making fools of themselves if they’d known she was watching them to see how to beat them. She smiled politely at the men and even blushed and batted her eye lashes at a few of the better looking me. It was rather fun to watch them. But despite the flirting Matalina was taking notes on their skills and their techniques. She hoped she’d never have to use any of the knowledge against their army as it was rather formidable. But her new found alliance with the Great Lord made her studies every more important to her. She’d been studying before as a way to gather information for her own self, but now she knew she was gathering information as well for the Great Lord. Learning where the weaknesses of the enemy was always important, and Matalina had missed the calling as she’d had left the Warders yards. But she regained that duty again after meeting with Caladesh. She would make sure to never forget it again.

***** East Board *****

Matalina stayed in Camerlyn approximately two months studying the Royal Guard and avoiding the underground as much as possible. She was still looking for Darkfriends, but she wasn’t looking to get tangled with the Rogues Guild again, even though that training proved to be good.

From Camerlyn Matalina traveled to Cairhein. She’d been here twice before and knew the city pretty well, she however avoided places she’d been before and places she’d have known Reana and her family to be. She didn’t want anyone thinking she was a dead woman now, particularly not after she’d killed her the last time she was here.

Cairhein didn’t have much of an army, but it had a few standing regiments and Matalina watched them train. There wasn’t much to learn from them as she’d studied them previously. In order to pull off any work for her prior employer she needed to know what she was up against. But Matalina jotted down notes and made it look like she was learning new things.

While listening in the common room one evening Matalina overheard a story of an Assassin being reborn or some such. The al’Ker assassin had apparently struck the fear back into the common folk again. Matalina was intrigued by the assassin and was sad to find out it had happened about 4 years ago that the assassin had struck again. It was an aweful long time for the common folk to still fear them, but Matalina tried to find out more about the person who had done the killing, but no one knew more than the rumors she’d already heard.

But the name fascinated her and she gave Aiden and Kate a last name finally – al’Ker. It was a common enough last name in Cairhein and other places and after she left Cairhein proper it wouldn’t matter if it was recognized anyway. The children chirred at their names and they were happily muttering their names to themselves. They’d begun speaking while they had stayed in Camerlyn. They didn’t say much coherently yet, but they were trying. Matalina was proud of them.

*****

Matalina was too close to Tar Valon, and she had yet to find all of what she was looking for, so instead of heading back to Tar Valon, Matalina took the eastern fork from Cairehin, towards the Aiel Waste. She knew she’d never get that far, but to see the expanse of desert it might bring out some inspiration, some knowledge of where to go from there.

After a days ride along the road to the northeast Matalina came upon a town. She never asked the name, but she took up a room in the Silver Bow. There was an abnormal amount of activity going on in this inn, almost a celebration. Matalina inquired into the reason and found out it was a weekend event that the towns folk took part in every week. A get together of sorts to end the week off right. Matalina smiled at the thought. She flashed the Darkfriend sign at the innkeeper but she didn’t respond as she gave Matalina the key to her room.

As Matalina went for the stairs a young man, in his mid-twenties came up behind her and whispered in her ear. “The Great Lord finds us all does he not.” Matalina almost shivered at his response as he took her saddle bags from her and spoke out loud. “Let me help you ma’am, those kids must be a might triffle to handle.”

Matalina smiled and lead the way to her room, she was a bit unsure of this, the last person who had responded to her inquiry had been a dreadlord. She prayed this man was not.

When they were safely in the room Matalina shut the door and put the children on the bed with a few toys as Matalina lead the man to the window to talk softly. He introduced himself. “I’m Glen Triad, a friend of a friend.”

Matalina smiled. “I’m Cari.”

“A simple name, who you hiding from.”

Matalina’s smile widened, he was a smart man. “I’m hiding from a former life, looking for a new one.”

“Then you’ve come to the right place. My employer helps those like us, and particularly those who are in need of hiding. What did you get into you couldn’t handle?”

“Nothing. Really. I have a few issues to work out…” Matalina began her tale on why she’d left, why the shadow had made her leave the life she knew. She didn’t regret leaving, except for leaving Raeyn unprotected in a world of lightfools.

Glen and Matalina talked for hours, about her needs and the needs of his employeer. They came to an understanding and agreement. Glen helped Matalina with her story on her death for Reikan and Raeyn. It basically came down to a band of bandits overcoming a simple woman on the road. The numbers were vague as the person had only found the dead body and the journals in her pack marked with “Master at Arms – Reikan Souvan” and “Raeyn Sedai of the Brown Ajah”, both identified as people with in the White Tower.

A letter accompanied each of them.

Dear Sir (or Ma’am)

I regret to inform you that I have found someone of your employ, I’m assuming as they were carrying a journal addressed to you. I have found a woman with dark hair and dark eyes dead on the side of the road. There wasn’t much left to identify her with, other than the things in her pack that the brigands apparently didn’t think they could sell. It’s been known for some time that 20 to 30 bandits roam these roads and take the lives of those they find helpless. I am sorry for your loss but felt it was in your best interest to know of her death, and to return the journals in which I have no need of.

The letters were written in Glen’s hand and left unsigned. Matalina wrote another letter to Raeyn.

Raeyn, my Sedai,

I have found a place that welcomes me. I will continue my work here.

Matalina

The note was a signal to Raeyn that Matalina was going to be dead to the Tower soon, the plan was to fake her death, and this would signal Raeyn’s morning for her dead Warder before the journals arrive.

Glen proceeded then to help Matalina with a story about who she really was. They went through an entire background story and the only thing they lacked was a name for Cari. Matalina smiled. “Namere will do well.” And to cover the fact that it was her ex-lovers name she included how they’d met in an inn as strangers, and Cari took the name to begin her new life; which was what Matalina was doing now anyway.

Matalina would go by Cari Namere from that point forward. It would be her new life, a new name, and hopefully Alex would come and Namere would be more than just a name off of a shelf, but a name that meant she was married to the man she loved.
***** White Tower Board *****

A Time to Mourn (attn: Raeyn)

Late one afternoon a man on horse back road up to the gates of Tar Valon, a bit scared at having to deleiver a package to the White Tower. The cities glory was well known, and he was glad he could see it for himself, but it was the occupants of the White Tower her feared the most. He didn’t want to get involved in Aes Sedai plotting, he just wanted to deleiver the message and leave, and he prayed to the creator that is all that would happen.

A girl in white approached him and inquired as to what he wanted. He handed the letter to her. “It’s addressed to Raeyn Sedai of the Brown Ajah, can you see that it gets to her promptly.” The girl nodded and scurried away.

She knocked on Raeyn’s door and when no answer came, she slide the letter under the door. Raeyn would find it’s simple message when she came back to her quarters.

Raeyn, my Sedai,

I have found a place that welcomes me. I will continue my work here.

Matalina

*****

Two weeks later a package was left for Raeyn, a journal and another letter.

Dear Ma’am

I regret to inform you that I have found someone of your employ, I’m assuming as they were carrying a journal addressed to you. I have found a woman with dark hair and dark eyes dead on the side of the road. There wasn’t much left to identify her with, other than the things in her pack that the brigands apparently didn’t think they could sell. It’s been known for some time that 20 to 30 bandits roam these roads and take the lives of those they find helpless. I am sorry for your loss but felt it was in your best interest to know of her death, and to return the journals in which I have no need of.

***** Warder’s Yard board *****

A Time to Mourn (attn: Reikan)

It had been two years since Matalina had left Jeffery Kincaid and Fawne to the care of their father and Reikan. Jeffery Kincaid had grown considerably and was still working diligently under Reikan when a package arrived for the Master at Arms. The handwriting wasn’t something Jeffery Kincaid recognized and wondered if Reikan was expecting something.

He placed the package on the top of Reikan’s inbox as Reikan walked in the door. Jeffery Kincaid smiled and turned to him. “A package arrived for you.” He picked it up and handed it to Reikan.

Reikan nodded and opened the package – a journal and a letter fell out. Jeffery Kincaid turned to leave and return to his duties as Reikan opened the letter.

Dear Sir

I regret to inform you that I have found someone of your employ, I’m assuming as they were carrying a journal addressed to you. I have found a woman with dark hair and dark eyes dead on the side of the road. There wasn’t much left to identify her with, other than the things in her pack that the brigands apparently didn’t think they could sell. It’s been known for some time that 20 to 30 bandits roam these roads and take the lives of those they find helpless. I am sorry for your loss but felt it was in your best interest to know of her death, and to return the journals in which I have no need of.

*****

***** North Board *****

The morning was damp with a light fog that obscured view as Matalina rode away from Tar Valon and her former life. It felt odd to be free of the bond to Raeyn. The presence in her mind was no longer there, no longer a comfort, but the duty to her had been lifted. Now there was one person who held a place in her mind, and she had pushed him away as she had most other people in her life. But leaving was for the best. She needed to control her self before she would ever be what Alex wanted of her and to be a good mother for her daughter. They could hate her for the rest of their lives but Matalina was doing this for them. It was better this way. Matalina kept telling herself that.

The sparing match with Reikan a month gone still played out in her head. She had truly wanted to kill him and there was no real reason other than he’d made her mad during their friendly spar. She had left him a note saying she was leaving and why, seeing him would probably put her in the brig or worse yet, end up dead. Matalina doubted he would ever forget her attempt on his life. And she paid dearly for the attempt, she was lucky to be a live. She never would know what really stopped him from finishing it off, but then she didn’t care. Even death would be better than betraying her secrets and Raeyn’s to the world.

Matalina had packed what she could from her room in the barracks. She brought half dozen changes of clothes with her, her fan cloak and at least two other cloaks. Most of her possessions were books or herbs in a trunk that were too heavy to bring and clearing her room out when she intended to come back would look suspicious. Only Raeyn and Alex had any clue she was never coming back to Tar Valon. In a few years time the Tower would think her dead and she’d let them believe it until the day she really did die.

Matalina needed a new path. Releasing the bond had done more damage than it had good to her already fragile mind and the Shadow was beckoning to break free at the slightest slip of control. There had to be a way to tame the beast and the craving for blood and killing. The Shadow was the main reason for her leaving. It had tried to kill Reikan because Matalina’s control had slipped. She had to get away, what if it had happened when she was angry at Fawne. Matalina would die before she let anything happen to her family. It really was better this way.

The road to the northwest was quiet at this hour and Matalina dwelled in her thoughts as she followed its path towards Maradon. She didn’t know what she was looking for, but she knew that she’d find it eventually.

*****

A week gone with little sleep and eating on the move brought Matalina to small town with an inn. The knot in the back of her mind now only spoke that Alex was well. It had stopped telling her how he felt long ago, but Matalina didn’t want to take the chances and she wanted as far away from Tar Valon as possible. This would be a good place to stop and rest for a while. Tain Cor was glad to be out and about but he was showing signs of being tired. She patted the stallion’s neck and leaned forward against it to wrap her arms around it as a child would their mothers. “We’ll stop and rest here. You’ve done well Tain.” The black stallion knickered at the praise and Matalina knew he was thankful for the rest.

The wasn’t much choice in where to stay there was only one inn – The Guiding Light. The town wasn’t well off, but it was sure to have a room to spare even if only for the night. Though Matalina knew she’d be here longer, the place gave her that feeling. Someplace where people didn’t know her and far enough away to not be taken as a Warder if she kept herself in check.

Matalina tied Tain Cor to the fence outside the inn, she would pay for room and board for them both and then take him to the stable. She didn’t want to take the time to introduce him to the stable boys, they wouldn’t be here that long. The door to the inn swung inward and the stale smell of ale wafted through the open door. Matalina kept her stomach in check as she walked back in. She’d only had a drink twice in her life and both ended up rather violently. Matalina smiled at the thought of her first encounter, even though the memories were a little vague. But they had new meaning after another well spent night with Reikan.

Reikan brought back the shadow, for some reason it despised the man now, it had brought it to the brink of death. Reikan could have killed Matalina but didn’t, and she thought that was exactly what the Shadow had hoped for. It didn’t care who died or how, it wanted death, even if it was its own. It felt gypped out of it and was angry.

Matalina closed her eyes and fought back the shadow’s desires. She needed to sleep and the shadow waking would not let that happen. The desires finally subsided and the innkeeper stood and stared at Matalina as she just stood there. Matalina smiled at the man before approaching. “I’m looking for a room for a while and board for my horse. I just need clean hay and a stall, I’ll take care of the rest. He’s rather tempermental.”

The innkeeper nodded. “I think I we can manage that, you sure you don’t want help with the horse? It’s no extra charge.”

Matalina smiled. “I’m sure, I’d hate for him to hurt your boys.”

The man nodded again and gave Matalina a price per day. “Will you be paying by day or should I run a tab.”

“Whatever is easiest for you sir, I’m just glad to be off the road for a while.”

“A tab then.” He handed Matalina a key. “Upstairs, third room on the right. It’s not much, but it’s soft and warm.”

Matalina smiled. “Thanks.”

The innkeeper called after Matalina as she was walking for the door. “What name can I put the tab under?”

Matalina turned to look at him almost in shock. It’s best now to start living a new life, you will be dead come a few years. Matalina nodded. “Cari will do.” She had no idea where the name came from, but then that was how she got her name in the first place. Her caretaker hadn’t given her a name, and when asked, Matalina came to mind. How or Why she never figured out. But then it really didn’t matter either.

*****

After a long, hot bath Matalina found herself in her room eating a hot meal of spiced meats and vegetables. There hadn’t been any other choice for the meal and Matalina hoped that the vegetables and bread would tide her over till breakfast. Even though the meat smelled good with the spices on them she still couldn’t make herself eat it. And there really was no point in it, if she didn’t get the protein she needed she would eat some of the beans and rice she’d packed with her things. It would probably be a good thing to restock her supplies while here, even though she hadn’t eaten much. Traveling would wear away at her saved money, but she needed to get away and find herself. Her thoughts were becoming redundant and Matalina knew it was time to sleep.

The sun was still well above the horizon when Matalina snuggled into the comforting blankets and soft mattress. It had a few lumps, but nothing compared to sleeping on the ground. Matalina closed her eyes and let the void drop. She was far enough away now that Alex couldn’t feel her emotions. The sudden notion of Alex brought tears to Matalina’s eyes. She didn’t sob or make a sound but she wept for her lost love. He had been everything to her, why couldn’t they make this work, especially now after she’d given him what he really wanted. The reason was because she wasn’t ready. She didn’t think she was good enough for him. Her thoughts continued down the dreary path of depression and Matalina let it. She was in control, but the emotions needed out, they’d been bottled up for nearly a year now in fear of pushing too much on to Alex.

Tears flowed steadily down Matalina’s cheeks as she tried not to think about Alex, but when she tried to think of other things, Fawne and Jeffery Kincaid came to mind. She had left her children in the care of another. Alex was more than capable of caring for Fawne, he’d done a good job of it since he’d returned. Matalina wondered if he had never returned would they be at each others throats, and would she have left them. Memories flooded her mind, and most of them were happy, even those she’d had of Alex, but that happiness came down to mere moments when compared to the dangers the shadow posed to all those that she loved and held dear. She knew she was doing the right thing, even though it didn’t feel like it now. Leaving was the best thing for all of them. Maybe one day they could be a family again. And with that thought Matalina drifted off to a dreamless sleep.

*****

The next morning Matalina woke up well after dawn, she wasn’t sure what time it was exactly. Her travels had taken a toll on her body that she wasn’t quite aware of. The bond had a lot of affects Matalina had taken for granted and now without it she had to adjust to many things and one of those was her endurance. A lot of training would have to go into her day to get it back up to her standards, and Matalina wondered if it would even matter. She had no clue where she was going or what she was looking for. But there was no point in sitting around doing nothing.

Matalina quickly washed and dressed in a plain woolen outfit of greens and browns and made her way downstairs. The common room was quiet as Matalina took a seat. “Morning, ma’am.” A young girl called. “I’ll be right with you.” Matalina nodded as she looked around the inn. It was quiet but outside there was movements. Matalina wondered what this town had to offer.

The girl came over. “Mistress Cari, correct?” Matalina looked up almost in shock, forgetting she’d given the name, then nodded. “Would you like some breakfast? We are having eggs and sausage and freshly backed biscuits.”

Matalina smiled. “All but the sausage sound good, a glass of milk too.”

The girl nodded. “I’ll have it out for you shortly.” And then she scurried into the back to place the order.

Matalina sat quietly waiting, no thoughts running through her head and she wondered why all of a sudden everything was quiet. The bond being released must have done a lot more damage than she had thought. Mummurs and voices could still be heard, but they weren’t talking to her, just an annoying buzzing in her head. This was how Kayla had started out, Matalina wondered who now would try to take over and control, which hidden personality was she blocking.

Since her realization that Marosa was actually part of herself she’d locked up long ago, after her and Reikan shared a moment of violent intimacy. It wasn’t quite as violent as their last affair had been, but still it was more than Matalina could handle at the time and she hide it away. Matalina wondered if she could get rid of the personalities, but she didn’t have time to think much on the solution as her food arrived. Matalina nodded to the girl.

The food was decent but tasted great after having that horrid stew the following night. Meat was definitely not part of Matalina’s diet. The milk was nice and cold and Matalina ordered a second class before her meal was fully finished.

Matalina got up and took her plate to the counter where the girl stood and smiled. “It was delicious.”

The innkeeper stopped and looked at Matalina, “Staying another night?” Matalina nodded. “Good, it’s nice to have customers.”

Matalina smiled. “I’ll be back in a while, I’m going to visit your little town.”

“There isn’t much to see, you’ll be back soon.”

Matalina chuckled softly. She was sure he was right, but there had to be something here of note. Matalina walked the wide streets of town looking through the windows the shops that were open, and noting which would look interesting to at least step into on the way back.

A dark alley way caught Matalina’s attention and the Shadow instantly woke up. She smiled, knowing why it had, dark alleys could lead to victims, but Matalina was firmly in control and unless someone angered her the Shadow would have to sit on the sidelines. The Shadow sulked and Matalina laughed as she turned down the alleyway.

Screams came from a partially opened door. Matalina’s protective instincts from being a Warder too long took over and her sword was drawn long before she pushed the door open. A man stood over a chair with ink pots and needles sitting on a table next to him. He stood over another man lying on his back bleeding from where the needle had pierced his skin. Matalina raised an eye brow as the two men looked at her.

The man lying on the bed spoke first, “Lookie here, we’ve got us a female warrior here to save the day.” Matalina glared at the man for his lack of belief in her own abilities.

But the man standing above the other strode to the door. “Put that away Miss…”

“Cari.”

“Put that away Miss Cari, the man here means no harm to you and he’s paying for a tattoo, and they are painful.”

Matalina sheathed her sword and nodded. “I’ll stay and watch for a while just to be sure.” Why she wanted to stay she was unsure, but it was her instinct to stay.

The man nodded and went back to work. “It won’t be pretty, it’s a bloody sight.” The thought of fresh blood being spilt made the Shadow waken even more, Matalina could feel it welling up inside her waiting, watching, wanting blood. It made her blood boil. The man screamed again. “Blood and ashes, you fool, be careful!”

The tattoo artist just chuckled and continued on with his work. The smell of the inks and the blood mingled creating a dull haze in Matalina’s mind. The screams and the smell all but drove the Shadow onward and Matalina fought to keep control. Time passed and Matalina stood there, watching. She wasn’t sure how long she’d been there, but the man on the couch was gone by the time she realized it was over.

“The name’s Mikal, you okay?”

Matalina blinked and the focused on the man in front of her. She smiled innocently. “Yeah, not sure what came over me.”

“You looked like death for a while, pale and blank. Blood and pain bother you? Why’d you stay so long?”

Matalina took a step forward and examined the man’s tools of his trade. “I don’t know why I stayed, and no, blood and pain don’t bother me.” That was an understatement; she relished both in one form or another.

“Interested in getting one?” Matalina turned around and faced Mikal. “I’ve a few that would look good on a body like yours.”

Matalina raised an eye brow and smiled at him. “Oh really?” Marosa woke at the innuendo of attraction. Mikal turned around and grabbed a book and started flipping through the pages. “Here is a small rose and symbol that would look very well on a feminine figure like yours.” Mikal flipped a few more pages and showed Matalina a few more drawings before confiding in her. “It’s not a pretty picture until after you’ve healed and it’s a painful process, as you saw earlier, even the toughest of men scream at least once.”

Matalina smiled. “Is that a challenge?”

Mikal blinked. “Actually it’s not, I’m trying to warn you of the pain involved.”

Something inside Matalina snapped. “Pain isn’t always bad.” She knew she enjoyed pain, she remembered the things she and Reikan had done months ago, some of the things she let him do to her bordered on abuse but Matalina remembered the pleasure she’d received from the rush of pain through her body. “Let’s try the first one you showed me. Where would you recommend?”

“For the first time I’d say something fleshy with little bone. Your lower back is always a good place to start. You are sure about this? You do have coin, right?”

Matalina jingled the purse inside her pocket, she had plenty of money here and if necessary she could always get more back in Tar Valon, she’d left Lila with money to care for them for a while, but Matalina didn’t think she’d run out of money at least not for a while.

“Okay, then.” With a blush, Mikal continued. “I’m going to have to ask you to remove your shirt.” Matalina smiled and winked at him. It was fun toying with a man who was obviously embarrassed about having to ask such a thing in a platonic setting. Matalina removed the shirt with little showiness. Marosa pouted but the Shadow reeled at the thought of pain and blood. She laid down on the couch and let the man do his thing.

The first needle prick brought on pain so vivid Matalina almost screamed, but she smiled when she did not, the void had blocked much of the feeling and the shadow scurried around trying to break the void. Matalina dropped it just as the ink needle entered into her skin. She didn’t scream but it rushed the pain sensations to her head and she flinched with the pain. The Shadow enjoyed the torturous pain as did Matalina, Marosa was unhappy that this pain wasn’t the direct result of intimacy; pain was no fun with out that. Matalina disagreed.

*****

The whole tattooing process was still a mystery to Matalina, but the results were rather addicting. Mikal never commented on her reactions to the pain. She thought he was slightly embarrassed to have brought that kind of reaction from his work. Matalina hadn’t been shy about her own reactions.

He gave her explict instructions on how to care for the wound, as that was exactly what it would be for several weeks. Matalina nodded knowing how things could scar if not properly cared for. It wasn’t much different than what she’d normally do for cuts. A painful experience she had actually enjoyed where as the self inflicted cuts had been to dampen the Shadow’s lusts. This killed two birds with one stone and Matalina enjoyed that fact.

The inn had picked up it’s pace as Matalina had spent most of her day with Mikal. It was actually very late when she’d made it back. The walk had been mostly pleasant, her stomach rumbled with hunger and she could have sworn it had moved. Matalina thought she was out of it still from the prior activities. Matalina dismissed the notion as she ordered the food minus the meat. She ate eagerly before heading back to her room.

Undressing to care for the tattoo Matalina noticed again that she was gaining weight when she should have been losing it for lack of eating well on the trip here. The bond was messing with her metabolism was her only explanation. The lack of the bond was something she really needed to adjust to, and adjust to soon.

*****

When the wound healed and the colors vividly shown on Matalina’s lower back she went back to see Mikal, wanting more of the same. She smiled at him and he almost blushed and Matalina played on that fact and kissed him on the check. “I want another, in a more painful place.” He blinked at her but nodded his head. “It needs to be elaborate.” Mikal shook his head and lead Matalina to the book of sketches he could easily replicate for her.

Matalina scanned through the book looking for the most detailed picture she liked. A grim character with a scythe stared back at her. She smiled. “This one.”

Mikal nodded. “Shoulder blades are painful because of the bone. You are one mighty weird woman.”

Matalina turned and smiled at him as she took off her shirt. Then laid down on the couch again. “Right side should balance it out I think.” Mikal nodded and went to work.

The grim character took more than one session to complete. The time it took for the details would bring them well past sunset and drawing in candle light was not something Mikal wished to do. He insisted on quality work. So Matalina returned the following day to finish the job.

When the job was finished and Mikal was red from the affect his work had on Matalina, she paid him in full with a generous tip and kissed him fully on the lips. His blush deepened and Matalina smiled. She enjoyed toying with men. Matalina then wondered why Marosa had not spoken up. Or why none of the others woke much as of late. The constant buzz in her head continued, she knew they were there, she could hear them but their voices weren’t as audible and distracting as they once had been. The releasing of the bond had some good side affects as well.

Matalina left Mikal to his clean up and his embarassement. Some men where were so easily toyed with.

*****

A week later Matalina woke up to movements in her stomach. She didn’t think she was hungry but something was defiantly amiss. As she got dressed Matalina looked at herself in the mirror, the weight gain, the movement in her stomach region. She closed her eyes and frowned. She was pregnant, again. Matalina sighed and an all too familiar voice rang in her head. I told you so! What it was meant for Matalina wasn’t sure, but she really didn’t care. How could she be… Matalina backtracked months to who she’d been with to think on who’s child she was going to bear this time. She hadn’t slept with Alex in nearly a year, and she wasn’t that far along. That also put Orion out of the running as that had happened around the time her and Alex broke up. Her treatment of Alex at the time made her sigh, she wondered if she’d be here now if they’d gotten back together.

Matalina quickly pushed the memories of Alex away, dwelling on him and she’d never find what she was looking for. The only one who could possibly be the father would be Reikan. Matalina sat down on her bed half dressed. She wasn’t sure whether to be in shock or to be happy that she had the chance to be a real mother this time. Matalina fell back on to the bed, she wasn’t ready to be a mother again. The pattern has a funny way of showing you what you need and what you don’t need. The Wheel weaves as it wills. Matalina scoffed at the adage and got up off the bed to finish dressing. There wasn’t much she could do about it other than take better care not to harm the baby.

*****

Matalina took time to adjust to the fact that she was pregnant. It really was not something she had expected, nor did she believe who the father was. It was one night, but that is all it took if you were fertile. Matalina sighed.

Her condition didn’t stop her from going back a third time to see Mikal. Nor did it curb her new found appetite for pain and pleasure or Marosa’s desire to seduce the man. A plan formulated in Matalina’s mind, who’s plan it was she wasn’t sure, but it formed none the less.

Mikal smiled at Matalina as he worked on another customer’s request. The man flinched when Mikal poked the ink needle into his skin, but he didn’t cry out. Matalina smiled and started flipping through the sketch book until she found a small tattoo with a heart and a symbol that would fit her plan well.

Matalina sat down in a spar chair and waited for Mikal to be finished with his current client.

She enjoyed the smell and imagined the pain the man was going through. Her body reacted to her own imagination and she enjoyed her morning. When Mikal finished and was cleaning up he spoke to Matalina. “Back again, huh?”

He turned and smiled. “What you getting this time?”

Matalina nodded towards the picture that was left open. Mikal looked and nodded. “A simple design.” He cocked his head and looked at her. “I wouldn’t have expected this after the last one.”

Matalina smiled and got up to close the half opened door to his work shop. “Small is good in this case.” Matalina removed her boots and Mikal raised an eye brow, curious to her intentions. Her pants and panties followed and Mikal stared wide eyed. Matalina only smiled and went to lay down. The couch was cold and a shiver ran through her body leaving goose bumps. Her hand rested on a spot just to the left of her pubic hair region on her left side. “Here.”

Mikal nodded and Matalina noticed he was the brightest red she’d ever seen him. But the man was more than professional despite the temptation that lay before him.

*****

The plan that had formed in Matalina’s mind had not back fired. Mikal was more than intrigued and when he was finished Matalina didn’t have much work to do to entice him into the bedroom. Both Matalina and Marosa were more than happy with the sappy love making that took place. They both agreed that it was a good change of pace from the pain and pleasure feelings of the past month.

Matalina fell asleep at Mikal’s shop but woke in the middle of the night and left him sleeping peacefully. It was time to move on. She felt bad for using him, but she didn’t want to become attached to a man so close to Tar Valon or in a small town like this. She paid her tab and made for the stables as soon as she’d gathered all her things. Tain Cor looked well rested and he knickered at Matalina, he was eager to be out on the road again. She smiled and patted him on the head as she dressed him for the trip. Thoughts of Mikal ran through her head but she wouldn’t stay to see anything come of it. It was better to move on.

Matalina left as the sun was peaking it’s first rays over the horizon and headed to Maradon.

*****

The borderlands were a reputable place for men to come from in the Yards. Many Tower Guards and Warders were from one of the four borderland nations. Saldaea was Matalina’s current location. She’d been to others over the course of the years, but she’d never really had the time to look into their military traditions. However this time was something that she had to do in order to have a plausible story. She really didn’t know what she was looking for and she had no idea when she would find it or if she ever would.

Back in the small town where Mikal had decorated her body and paid for it with abandonment Matalina had purchased two journals. She’d forgotten them in Tar Valon and had begun to write down inconspicuous information in one, this that could be interpreted as code to her Aes Sedai, but they really meant nothing. She was suppose to be out looking for information for Raeyn, and she intended to have that portion covered as well.

The second book was for her studies of other fighting styles and techniques of the places she visited. She planned to spend a few months in each major city she stopped in to take a look at how they treated the military formations and how they trained. And her first stop was the Saldaean army.

There were a lot of customs Matalina hadn’t been aware of when she entered an inn in Maradon. The first being that women were not taught the sword or anything about war, but were expected to be well versed in defense and other strategies. It was everyone’s fight in the borderlands against the Shadow and the taint from the Blight. It was ironic to her, but Matalina did remover her sword and kept it with her belongings while she stayed. She was more than adequately protected with just her daggers.

The biggest intrigue of her time had been watching the Saldaean cavalry train and show off. They could do some of the most amazing tricks imagined on horse back. Matalina watched in a state of awe as each rider tried to best the previous one. Kayla had enjoyed the show as much. Matalina didn’t think she’d ever be that agile on a horse, nor would Tain Cor actually be able to be as light on his feet. But Tain was a war horse, meant for heavy cavalry. And Matalina knew he’d be jealous if she rode any other horse than him. It was amazing to see how he reacted when he knew she was near. Tain Cor was a good horse and she was glad to have him keep her company on this journey through unknown lands alone.

***** West Board *****

Her time spent in Maradon went by quickly and Matalina was saddened to have to start traveling again, but she didn’t want to get stuck traveling in horrible weather, and it was soon nearing that time of year. She left early one morning and traveled at a decent pace, not nearly as slow as she had before, or as fast the time before. She tried to make it to an inn every night as the baby inside her continued to grow and make the ride uncomfortable. Matalina counted the months and weeks left till she thought the child would be born and it was nearing soon, it was a good thing she was nearing closer to Arad Doman and Bandar Eban it’s capital city. She wasn’t sure how long she’d be there, more than likely past the winter weather that was about to swallow the land whole.

This was the farthest Matalina had ever been from Tar Valon. It was almost a whole world apart from what she’d known growing up and later in her adult years. Matalina hadn’t traveled much, she’d been to Tear with Tari, and to Cairhein with Yveva, and the Borderlands with Alencia. She’d gone to Cairhein alone as well as to Camerlyn to train with the Rogue’s Guild for a while, not to mention the Blight for a few years. But there was always a real reason to be out and about, now Matalina was only trying to find herself. And she didn’t know where that would be.

Matalina found an inn in Bandar Eban run by an older woman named Greta. The name of the inn was illegible on the sign, only the picture on it gave hint to what it was, but Matalina didn’t care one way or the other, it mattered little. Names rarely stuck with Matalina anyway. Greta gave Matalina a room and sent a midwife to tend to her almost the miniute she had walked in the door.

“You look like you could go any minuite. Now is not the time to be traveling. Your stay for now is free; you aren’t getting out of my inn until your child is born.”

Matalina was grateful and she insisted on paying, as she was planning on staying anyway. Greta would hear none of it. A woman alone and traveling with child was not something Greta would have. So there Matalina stayed under the name of Cari.

*****

Not even a month after arriving in Bandar Eban Matalina gave birth to a son, and then a daughter. It was no wonder Matalina had grown as fast as she had and as big as she had. Greta insured that the twins were well tended until Matalina was able to do so herself.

“You’ve done this before, haven’t you? You don’t seem the mothering type if you don’t mind me prying.”

Matalina smiled. “This is my third pregnancy, and will be the third and fourth child.”

“And where are the others now?”

Matalina frowned. “They are living their lives happily. My daughter is with her father, and my son is working as a page under their father.” Matalina indicated the twins.

“Why aren’t you with them? How many fathers do these children have?” Greta was slightly confused.

Matalina laughed. “Each is fathered by a different man.” It had been a long while since she’d thought about Vanair. The man she thought she had loved more than life itself until she met Alex. Then Alex became her world, and he turned it upside down and never stopped. Reikan was just a one night stand, there was nothing there other than a drowned out friendship that probably hadn’t survived their last encounter. Matalina rubbed the scar he’d given her during that spar. Now she had two children that were his. The pattern never stopped throwing the odd at Matalina.

Matalina gave the children a first name, a last name would come when she’d had time to think on it. Right now they just needed a name – Aiden and Kate. She didn’t know where the names came from but then she couldn’t really say where Cari had come from either. But she was beginning to like the name. She would consider keeping it when she got where she was going. But now was not that time. It was time to care for her newborns with the help of Greta.

*****

Matalina and Greta became closer as the babies grew. One evening Greta took Matalina aside while the twins were fast asleep in their crib. “I’ve no daughters to pass on my knowledge, will you learn from me?”

Matalina raised an eye brow, “What would you have me learn?” Domani women were noted for many things and their dress and nature was something they passed down from mother to daughter.

“The ways of a Domani woman. There are many things I could teach you.” Greta smiled. “I don’t think you’ve a problem with men, if you’ve had three different men father children for you, but I can show you ways to please them beyond what you already know. And please women too.” The look on Matalina’s face must have indicated that her taste did not run that direction. “Trust me women can be vulnerable to a pretty face and a nice caress just as easily as a man. And it comes in handy if you need to get your way.”

Matalina agreed to learn from Greta, but was shocked by the first move the older woman had made. Greta leaned in and kissed Matalina firmly and seductively on the lips. She then whispered, “I will show you the ways, but you must be willing to learn in an unconventional way.” Then Greta leaned in again and kissed Matalina using her tongue this time. “There are many, many ways to kiss; I will show you them all.”

The night progressed in the same fashion, the woman kissed Matalina showing her the 1107 different kisses the Domani women all passed down to their daughters. After the demonstration Greta left Matalina to think on the situation. Her next visit Matalina would have to initiate each of the different kisses.

Matalina and Greta spent the next few weeks going over and over the womanly arts of kissing. Greta was pleased with Matalina attitude towards kissing another woman, and had bigger plans for her, but she didn’t let Matalina know any of that.

*****

Matalina’s nights were filled with seduction and passions she wasn’t sure were right to be feeling while being taught about those womanly arts all Domani women seemed to posses, but her days were filled with the children and with learning about the military culture of Bandar Eban. She looked around quite extensively to find something of the sort out, but the Domani were tight lipped about their military knowledge.

But she did find a few small contingents and she studied them, taking into account that they were small formations. The Domani must rely on militia if there was need, but she wasn’t sure there ever was a need for that, even though the Aramoth Plain was something of a debate with Tarabon – both nations wanting control, but never actually coming to blows. The dynamic was interesting to hear about at least.

Matalina spent a few nights in different inns listening to the tails of the Aramoth Plain and their supposed war with Tarabon over it. Matalina didn’t consider it a war, a knowledable dispute but not a war, there was no real fighting over it, at least none in many years.

All in all her studies of the Domani ways of fighting was rather dull, her most interesting learnings were that from Greta, and Matalina was beginning to enjoy the woman’s company and the training she was receiving.

*****

Several months past, the twins were growing fast and the weather was quickly getting better, winter had turned to spring and Matalina was eager to move on, but Greta had one final test for Matalina.

“I’ve a serving girl working for me who needs a little encouragement. She’s a fine girl, pretty and very knowledgeable from what her mother has told me, but she’s shy. I want you to break her of that.”

Matalina wondered what she could do about it but she didn’t have time to ask as Greta explained it for her.

“As your final test of all the things I’ve taught you, I want you to lure the girl to your bed for the night. You’ve come along way in your feelings towards using your body against other woman, a man can easily fall for the will of a woman, but another woman is the highest challenge. If you can do this I will consider your tab paid.”

Matalina agreed but sighed at having the last part of the deal sealed. She tried arguing but Greta would have none of it. Greta showed Matalina the girl she was to seduce. Her name was Rachel and she was a pretty enough girl, but Matalina wasn’t sure what to do about it.

For several days Matalina watched Rachel in the common room serving the men. She certainly moved to their liking but she never instigated anything more than a few looks and glances. Greta had told Matalina the girl was shy about her own body and she didn’t think she was pretty, so her self confidence was low and it was Matalina’s job to inspire her.

Matalina wore a shirt she might not have worn if she wasn’t trying to appeal to the men and women around her. It was made of silk and the color of the night sky just before sunset. The deep blue shimmered in the soft light of the inn and the top of the tattoo on her upper left sholder blade shown above the neck shirt. Greta had given Matalina several shirts to bring out the feminine nature of the ex-Warder. Matalina wouldn’t wear the clothes often but now was certainly the time to bring it out. It was an off the shoulder type shirt, her neck line and shoulders were bare except for the hair she left down. Matalina felt odd, but Greta insured her that it looked wonderful.

Matalina sat in the middle of the common room along Rachel’s path. It took Matalina several attempts as the girl walked by before she worked up the nerve to casually caress the woman’s behind as she stood taking the orders from the men across the way. Rachel looked back and smiled at Matalina but nothng more came of it.

Rachel finally came over and took Matalina’s order but by then the men who normally would have been vying for her attentions were all eyes on the two women. Matalina’s advances hadn’t slipped past them.

Rachel came back with Matalina’s order and sat down on her lap waiting for a tip. She was at least going to play along for the moment, she had seen her talking with Greta and her mother and Matalina wondered what they had told her. Rachel whispered into Matalina’s ear. “What are you trying to do? The men won’t touch me now.”

Matalina smiled. “That’s good for us.” And then she pulled the woman in closer for a kiss. A small noise escaped Rachels mouth as their lips pressed against one another. Matalina smiled and let her tongue dance inside of the other girls mouth. Rachel understand finally what was going on, or at least that Matalina was attracted to her. And in a weird way Matalina was, she was feeling things she’d only felt with men before, and the passions inside of her rose as she kissed Rachel.

Matalina’s hands moved along Rachel’s leg. She pulled up the skirt enough to let her hand stray underneath it. Rachel squirmed and looked a bit shocked at Matalina. “Let’s go to your room.”

Matalina shook her head. “No, the men want a show, let’s give them one. They’ve been waiting all night for you to come to me, let’s not disappoint them.” Matalina kissed Rachel’s neck and bit it softly as her hand worked her way up between Rachel’s legs.

The men would get a show, and Rachel would be the object of their desires as Matalina brought the woman to climax in front of the entire common room. When Rachel’s body cooled from the passions it had just received she hurriedly got up from Matalina’s lap in tears. Matalina sighed, but she’d done her job. She hoped Greta would be happy in the very least.

Matalina left to hoots and hollers from the men in the common room, she only smiled, she’d done her job very well; the men had enjoyed themselves as well. Greta stopped her as Matalina reached the stairs. “You did very well, I hadn’t expected you to stay here though.”

Matalina smiled. “They wanted a show.”

“Rachel will be okay, don’t’ you worry about her, her mother is explaining the situation to her.” Matalina nodded and went up to her room. She would leave in the morning.

****

Matalina was cleaning up before her long journey onward, the children were asleep soundly in their bed and Matalina stood naked in the room cleaning off the grime from the common room; she truly hated the stench of beer and tabac on her skin. A soft knock came. “Cari, it is Rachel can I come in?”

“It’s unlocked.” It was on thing Matalina couldn’t get in the habit of, locking her door.

Rachel sighed as she closed the door, when Matalina turned around the girl looked ready to cry again. “I didn’t know you were bathing.”

Matalina smiled. “It doesn’t bother me, considering what just happened in the common room.”

Rachel slowly approached Matalina and took the sponge from her hand and began to cleanse Matalina’s back. “That’s why I’m here. My mother told me she was proud of me, letting the men see me with you, reaching climax for their pleasure and my own. She’s never told me she was proud of me before. Thank you.”

Matalina smiled. “It’s no problem, Rachel. I enjoyed it as much as you.” And that was the truth. No voices echoed in her mind she had truly enjoyed being with her.

“Let me repay you with pleasure of your own.”

Matalina turned to Rachel and Rachel planted a kiss on Matalina. From there they ended up in bed pleasing each other through out the night until dawn. Neither Rachel nor Matalina felt love for one another and they parted ways easily in the morning, each having their own curiosities about what had transpired that night. But Matalina was sure of one thing, Marosa had never showed up once during their night of passion together. Was she gone? Matalina could only wonder what had happened. The voices in her mind seemed to be dimming, each one finding a way into Matalina’s conscious mind. She wondered what would happen if they all did that.

*****

Matalina bundled up the children and gathered all their belongings, the few things they’d accumulated over the six months in Bandar Eban and they were off at breakfast time. Greta kissed Matalina on the cheek as she sent her off with the twins. It would be an interesting trip with them with her. A makeshift sling had been created for each of them, and they were warm underneath Matalina’s new wool cloak. She might get hot, but it was the babies’ health she was most concerned about.

The trip to Tanchico was long as the three of them traveled at a slower pace. It was difficult to feed and change a child on horse back so Matalina needed to stop frequently. Thankfully the weather warmed as they moved on and there was little rain.

Tanchico was noted to be a dangerous place and Matalina was a bit leary about staying there for long with the children, but she wanted to insure that she took enough notes to satisfy her journey’s need.

Like Arad Doman Tanchico didn’t really have an army, they had a police force of sorts in order to maintain some safety on the dangerous streets, but because they’d never gone to war officially with Arad Doman over the Aramoth Plain there was little need for an army. Matalina took what notes she could and quickly moved on. She didn’t want to stay in a dangerous place with Aiden and Kate on her arms.

*****

Matalina stayed a month in Tanchico and gathered a bit of information for both Raeyn and for Reikan. There wasn’t a whole lot to learn there so Matalina moved on sooner than she had anticipated. Her next stop would be Amador. She wasn’t sure why she wanted to even go near the Children of the Light, but it was on her way back to Tar Valon. Not that Matalina had any intention of going back there, but she was lost as to where to go, so heading home at least looked feasible in her traveles.

At every inn along the way Matalina began showing the universal signal looking for other Darkfriends. She didn’t stay long or linger in any of them, and she found nothing that would tie her to one place or another. She didn’t want to be found our as a Darkfriend, but she needed to find something, but she didn’t know what that was but she was sure it wasn’t going to be found with Light fools.

Matalina arrived in Amador on a day that was raining so she took to the first inn that she found. She had hidden her weapons in her bed roll, there was no point brining attention to a lone woman with two children on her arms.

The military situation in Amador consisted of several things, mostly the Children of the Light, but the King also had his own army. They generally worked together, but there was a certain air between the two. Matalina wasn’t allowed to see most of the Children’s training so it was a futile effort to even try. Her stay wasn’t long but she watched as many Children of the Light out in the streets as she could taking notes of their attitudes and the air about them. It was quite different from how they acted else where.

***** South Board ******

Again Matalina’s stay in Amador wasn’t long, she had no desire to be among so many Light fools that even suspected her affilation with the Great Lord would have her head. It was a discomforting thought and Matalina moved on quickly, never finding anything she had hoped for.

Matalina only found glimpses of other Darkfriends as she traveled. She hadn’t found anything substantial and kept moving. She stopped again in Lugard, Murandy. Here there were a few Darkfriends, but Matalina didn’t find the situation to her liking and quickly decided to leave. She barely evaluated the small standing armies before the tensions in the region got to her. It was worse than trying to fight through a crowded tavern room in Tar Valon after a brawl. There was going to be civil war it was felt in the air. Civil War wasn’t something Murandy was not use to, it happened often. They were a weak nation but they had many problems internally.

Underground rumors of a Chosen residing in Lugard made Matalina leave the city. She wanted no part of a Chosen she didn’t know. It could have been the one Carmen reported to and Matalina had no desire to meet up with Carmen again. The woman was bad for business and she didn’t want her knowing about the children either. The last one was still paying for that knowledge.

*****

Matalina left quickly two weeks after her arrival in Lugard. She headed towards Camerlyn but make a quick stop in Four Kings. She flashed the Darkfriend sign and got no response from the inn keeper, she wouldn’t be staying long. She was given a room and Matalina went up stairs to it and started readying the children for a bath and then bed. They were just as eager for warmth and comforts of a bed as she was. They’d grown considerably since their birth, they were nearing a year now and they were babbling to themselves almost at a constant rate. They hadn’t said any words yet despite Matalina’s attempts at getting them to say “mama”. But they appaeared to be bright children and Matalina was proud of them.

After the children were safely tucked into the bed Matalina went down to the common room for a meal herself. The children had eaten earlier and were more then satisfied to be sleeping in the comforts of a bed. Matalina sat at a table in the corner and watched the crowd around her. The serving girl brought Matalina food with out ever taking her order. The food was laden with meats Matalina couldn’t identify and she sighed. She wouldn’t be eating much this night. Though the glass of milk was highly refreshing and she ordered a second one and another loaf of bread, at least the bread was warm and fresh.

As Matalina nibbled at the bread as a man approached …

I can't beleive it, we finally have carpet in the house. It feels sooooo wonderful to be able to walk on carpet again. The padding is lovely the color is great. It's going to show dog hair but with the baby I hope to be better about keeping it up.

Shea's gonna paint molding and doors this week, hopefully hang it all on Friday with help from a friend from work. Saturday/Sunday we'll move into the house. If the weather doesn't shape up soon I might as to have the bed put into the bedroom sooner cause it's cold out here, not sleeping wise just during the day. I'm considering taking a chair and a folding table and my laptop into the office and staying in there, but we'll see, it's not exactly always warm inside either cause we've still got a few windows open we can't exactly get to right now.

Granted the weather channel says its only 41 but it feels like 34. Not sure if I should be cold or not, but considering it's been 60 to 80 for the past month or so 40 degrees is chilly. I might go get the space heater we bought for the bathroom to sit near me so I can stay out of my bed. I've already gone back to bed for a few hours cause I was chilly, and I wasn't feeling well. Though I didn't get nearly as nauceous as I did yesterday so hopefully my nerves are calming down now that we've got the carpet in.

I still can't beleive we'll be in the house by the weekend.

Had a doctors appointment today. All is going well. Doctor told me that if I'm dialated around Christmas time he can induce. He said we didn't have to, it didn't matter to him. I told him as long as she's not born on Christmas I don't care. So we might have our little one with us on Christmas, how cool would that be. I will be seeing the doctor on a weekly basis now.

Earlier today, the guy who is installing our carpet stopped by with the padding and carpet. He will install it on Monday. Yay! Tuesday I will clean the desks and check for mold or anything and clean the crib, so we can get them all moved in over the course of the week and hopefully by next weekend we'll be in the house again. Yay!

Well I woke up this morning, checked my email and then went to go check the Warders Boards. Doing my duty right? Well yesterday I posted something that I was told to tell my bio checker. So I did, no problem, right?

Guess what? There were objections to me posting it and telling my bio checker that a rule had been decided. Not only were they bitching me for agreeing about the ruling they criticised me for "making arangements".

I'm sorry but where the hell do ppl get off telling me what I do and don't agree with? Or the fact that they fully know that I'm just doing my f*ing job. This outburst has just made my decision. I'm so god damn tired of this bullshit I'm not going to deal with it. As soon as I talk with Owen I'm making the annoucement.

My right wrist, my good wrist is killing me today. It hurts very similar to my left wrist when it's aching from too much use or from carrying something to heavy with that hand.

I'm wondering if maybe it's just cause of the way I slept on it last night. I hope so, it would really suck for my right wrist to be as bad as my left. Needless to say typing and moving the mouse is no fun right now. GRRRR!

Two days have passed since my last feeling of stepping down as Warder DL occurred. And my feelings really haven't changed.

There people I've talked to that say they are 100% behind me, and others who say it's your decision but don't do it. I'm glad people give their honest opinions on the matter.

Putting the staff issues aside, there are still two very strong reasons why I feel I should step down.

1. When Kathleen gets here I'm not sure I'm going to want to deal with all the responsiblity of taking care of the Warders when I have a new baby to take care of.

and

2. I don't beleive the division thinks I've done a very good job at fixing the problems. And after a year the Warders still aren't out of that rut they were in. It's still training focused, rather advancement focused and membership has dropped considerably. If the volitalty on the staff is any concensus on how the division feels about specific changes then I'm not sure I'm the right person for the job. Old Warder ways are engraved in me too deep. Almost seven years of the same traditions, and it's hard to break old habits.

It's sad when I would rather work behind the scenes at SG than work with the Warders. Alot of that has to do with the fact that SG needs help where as the Warders don't. They can run for months with out solid visible leadership. And I'm sure that it will continue that way long after I've gone from DM completely. I'm sure that day will come, maybe not for a long while, but I'm sure it will come.

I'm still giving this considerable thought. My mind isn't completely made up yet.

Here's a movie from somebody with too much time on their hands. It's totally awesome tho.

Wizards of Winter

The weather in Lugard had been dreary for several weeks, over cast skies and drizzling rain were akin to the mood around the manor house. Servants were on edge as the mistress of the house took to the hidden passages and rooms of the house. Everyone knew why she was scarce, but no one voiced the cause out loud, not even in hushed whispers. Their mistress’ wrath was not something they wanted on their heads. It was good for it to be directed else where for a change.

Two weeks gone a carriage arrived in the middle of the night. A worm like bundle was carried squirming into the manor house. It wasn’t but a night later that the darkness was filled with muffled screams of agony and the servants set about their tasks turning a blind eye and ignoring the sounds coming from those secret passages no one was suppose to know about but the Mistress of the house. No one spoke with out being spoken to and everyone rushed from place to place. Now was not the time to bring the Mistress’ eye upon you.

Deep with in the manor Semirhage stood over the crying man who had been brought in those two short weeks ago. Short for Semirhage, her prey no doubt thought it was a very long two weeks filled with hunger, pain and most of all torture. Semirhage smiled at what he might be thinking. She was truly enjoying this event, even if it didn’t produce the results she wanted. It was still fun.

The man had a name, but Semirhage didn’t bother using it. He was from a rival noble house. His master was her greatest advisary in the assumption of the crown of Murandy – something that had not been done in many years. But Semirhage had a plan and the Great Lord would be proud of it’s completion. The Dark would prevail at Tarmon Gaidon if she succeeded. At least in her mind it was the end all and be all of plans for the Great Lord. No doubt everyone else would think the same, but the thought never crossed her mind.

Two weeks of torture had not yet yielded any valuable information. He either didn’t know a thing or he was tight lipped. Semirhage hoped it was the latter. This morning would start a new session of torture; he’d been left waiting for days on end chained to a wall naked. His first response to seeing Semirhage dressed in blood red was to begin crying. What he said wasn’t important, it was mostly just babble right now, as a matter of fact that was all he really every did was babble.

Semirhage began simply, first with a small weave of fire brushed against his skin. He cried out in pain and she smiled, then sweetly spoke. “Your master’s estates, how large is his army?”

The man quivered. “I… I don’t know.”

Semirhage increased the intensity of the weave and he cried out. “Sure you know, you are his right most servant, you should know all things going on around you.”

He cried out again. “I really don’t know.” Again the pain increased as Semirhage increased the intensity. His skin started to blister where the weave touched. “Maybe three hundred trained men….” Semirhage smiled, finally an answer.

Semirhage continued with the torture only allowing him time to speak when spoken to. He revealed little information, but what he had would be used in her plot to gain the Queenship of Murandy. Today he would be given food and healing. She would enjoy the healing as much as she had the torture.

As of late every time there is an issue in the Warders my mind tries to grasp the reason why I'm doing this in the first place. This is not a new phenomenon, it's been happening since I took on DLship. It's been nearly a year and I don't feel that the division thinks it's better off with the changes I've implemented. While I beleive 100% in what has changed, I don't think the division sees it that way.

It feels like membership has dropped dramatically for both newbs and promotions, from trainee to Tower Guard and even the number of Warders that are bonding. And I can't help but think it has to do with the promotion scheme. I'd get rid of it all together if I thought it would help, but it wouldn't people would still bitch and complain.

There are several reasons why I'm considering stepping down. The main reason being I'm not sure this is really worth my time. In the coming months my internet time is going to be small with the new baby. Do I want to spend all my time dealing with the little things that tend to get on my nerves or do I really want to be writing and doing the things that are fun? I mean I've enough responsibility to DM in general with what I need to do for Jason, bring in the Warders on top of that and I doubt I'll have much time to write. I don't know.

I guess I'm growing tired of the politics that surrounds everything. I enjoy the Warders, but I don't enjoy having to debate and discuss my every action or decision. There is not any single event that triggered this consideration, it's more the totality of it all.

I'm currently under the high assumption that applying for the DLship in the first place was a bad idea. I think I'll sit on this a little while and worry about it later. God knows my mind can be changed in a heart beat.

I think the baby has turned. I'm not sure if she's still not breach but I think she's turned. Last night after one of my excursions to the bathroom and a drink of water whenI came back she got the hiccups. Normally they were on the right side up by my ribcage where I could feel the slightly regular pulsing if her hiccups. Last night they were in the lower left part of my abdomen. Kinda telling me that's where her head is.

I hope she has turned. Dr. Delgado said he would check when they do the culture next week. So I'm keeping my figures crossed. Though a C-section isn't nearly as scary as actual labor. Funny how brain surgury can make the frightening seem less frightening. Oh I know there are complications in either situation, but I'm very concerned about the pain of labor and I pray it won't last for many many hours.

Travel to Study other Nations methods of fighting

  1. Travel northwest from Tar Valon to stay in small town a weeks ride from Tar Valon (Char Dev RPs) (1 month)
  2. Travel northwest from small town to *Maradon (2 months)
  3. Travel southwest from Maradon to *Bandar Eban (Char Dev RPs) (6 months)
  4. Travel south from Bandar Eban to *Tanchico (2 months)
  5. Travel west from Tanchico to Elmora
  6. Travel west from Elmora to *Amador (2 months)
  7. Travel south from Amador to close to Ebou Dar
  8. Travel northeast from Ebou Dar to *Lugard (2 months)
  9. Travel northeast from Lugard to Four Kings (Char Dev RPs - Caladesh) (1 month)
  10. Travel east from Four Kings to *Camerlyn (2 months)
  11. Travel east from Camerlyn to Aringril
  12. Travel north from Aringril to *Cairhein (2 months)
  13. Travel one day’s ride north from Cairhein towards Jangai Pass to small town where Rashad Ranch is located (Char Dev RPs)

6 months of total travel time + 20 months of various stops = 26 months (2 years)

* indicates areas to study fighting tecniques

Outline of Events

  1. Travel as far as a weeks ride will take her, barely sleeping, and eating on the move
  2. Stop in a small town northwest of Tar Valon
    1. Take on a new name
    2. Far enough away to weep over loss of her love and get over him to a degree
    3. Explore small town and find a tattoo artist
    4. First tattoo – small lower back on left side (of rose and tribal symbol)
    5. Pain = Pleasure
    6. Second tattoo – large right shoulder blade (of the grim reaper)
    7. Third tattoo – small slightly left of pubic hair region (of heart and tribal symbol)
  3. Finish traveling to Maradon
    1. Study Borderland fighting styles
  4. Travel to Arad Doman and find a place to stay in Bandar Eban (for six months)
    1. Learn the ways of Domani woman from Greta the innkeeper with no daughters to pass the information on to
    2. Studying the ways of the Domani warriors (concurrent in timeline with above)
    3. Attraction to women/final request from Greta to seduce a young lady
    4. Realization – Marosa no longer present
  5. Travel to Tanchico, Amador and Lugard
    1. Study three nations fighting styles
  6. *Travel to Four Kings, Andor
    1. Meet Caladesh
    2. Swear Oaths to Osan’gar
    3. Affair with Caladesh?
    4. Overcome/Accept the Shadow
  7. Travel to Cameryln
    1. Study the Royal Guard
  8. Travel to Cairhein
    1. Study the Cairhein fighting techniques
    2. Unsure of where to go from here, so close to Tar Valon
    3. Heads towards the Aiel Waste for no particular reason other than to travel, end up in a small town where she meets Glen Triad at the inn
    4. Glen helps Matalina send her death notification and create a story of who Cari Namere is
    5. Glen takes her to the Rashad Ranch where she will spend the remainder of her time (end of Study RP)
  9. Cairhein Ranch
    1. Meet Nathan and Sara and the rest of the ranch hands and family
    2. *Meet Akasha
    3. Nathan and Sara take in Cari as one of their own daughters
    4. Realization – Kayla no longer present
    5. Sara begins to work on Cari’s feminine presence and attributes for a good mother and wife
    6. First trial for Cari in the mother role is to raise a runt puppy
    7. *Cari learns about makeup and attire from Akasha
    8. *Cari seduces Akasha? (potential continuous affair)
    9. Cari learns to cook
    10. Cari learns to knit and sew
    11. Cari begins teaching the boys how to use a quarterstaff after school
    12. Pitch fork incident
    13. Cari ‘tames’ three wild stallions for Nathan, resulting in three mares for her to profit from, keep or give away
    14. Realization – May no longer present
    15. Talyn and Cari have discussion about Warders
    16. Cari writes three letters, packs two saddle bags with knitted toy and letters for Fawne and Jeffery Kincaid, a small pouch with two plain gold rings for Alex to send with Talyn as he tries to become Raeyn’s Warder
    17. *Alex comes to the Ranch
    18. *Glory Rashad comes to the ranch
    19. *Caladesh comes to the ranch and starts his training school (affair continues, or attempts to?)

* actual RPs with other characters

Trying to help a guy register at Dragonmount and their email address is a mile long. I'm pretty sure that is what the problem is considering the error message. Not sure if there is much to be done about it as it's easier to have them create a dmail account with a short name so they can register. At least I hope that's the problem. I really hate when registration problems come up cause there isn't much I can do about it as most of the code is hard coded and just a pain in the butt to change.

We got the Roof on the house two days ago. Yay!

We have carpet people coming Monday or Tuesday to measure the house for carpet, then two to three weeks before it gets installed, but we are getting closer yay!

We are having a painting and tear out party on Saturday. Shea's finishing the bedroom walls today and the bathroom walls too. Then it'll be paint the panelling and get the living room, small bathroom and kitchen sheet rock cut and torn out and ready to be fixed up. Hopefully we'll have a kitchen shortly after we get into the house... hopefully ... maybe even before... that would rock!

The baby isn't kicking my ribcage but she's pressing up into it. At times I have this pain in the side, just at my ribcage, generally happens when I've been sitting too long or sleeping on that side too long. And it's only the right side I've felt it on. Feels like something is poking into my ribcage, lol, probably her head, as she hadn't turned as of my last sonogram. She still has time to turn, thankfully. And I'm pretty sure she's still breach, as most of the 'kicking' is below my belly button, though it's possible she just has the hiccups too hehe.

Mytic hasn't found a person to fill the Web Developer Job they posted back in August. I'm so very tempted to sned in my resume just to see if I get a call back. I hate to do it knowing I can't move right now, and they explicitly say no telecommuniting. *sighs*

This is a great job oppurtunity to do something I love to do for something that actually gets used. Northup Grumman has a ship building system in Norfolk, VA, which is 4 hours away from Fairfax. Richmond is about half way in between but that's still 2 hours away from both fairfax and Norfolk, that's one hell of a drive between the two. Though Shea could easily find work else where.

It would have to be alot of money to make us move again tho. Particularly where there is no family. Though my brother isn't too far away and I think Jess is close by. I dunno... I do want to apply to see if I could even get a call back for an inteview. But then it'd get my hopes up too *shrugs* I'm confused about it all right now lol.

I've been dying since I saw "Italian Classics" on Everday Italian to make Fetteccine Alfredo from scracth. I've of course made it from packets and from jarred pasta sauce but never new how to make it from scratch. The show showed me exactly how to make it. But when the hurricane hit I hadn't had a chance to make it yet. I was considerint making it at Sam and Joyce's place but there was too many people to cook for.

Yesterday we bought an electric burner with the Christmas money my mother sent us for some of the kitchen things we need, so now I can boil water and stuff inside. So I went to the store today and bought all the ingredients I needed for homemade fetteccine alfredo.

I may have to play with the high fat ingredients... heavy cream and butter and cheese - lots and lots of fat. But I must say it is delicious, not quite as good as a resturants, but very good. I think I put a little too much lemon juice in it, but I didn't measure it so that's probably why.

The show also covered Fried Calamari, but since Shea doesn't like it and the chances of me finding the ingredients is very small, I'll probaby never make it. Though I also learned how to make homemade mozzeralla sticks. Haven't made them yet as it's just as easy to go to the store to buy them.

I really like Everyday Italian, and the show that proceeds it during the week, Paula's Southern Cooking or something like that. Two of the regional foods that I do really like to cook. I just wish Italian was more available here other than like pizza joints and the francise places like Olive Garden. But that's probably the reason why I'm learning how to make alot of my favorites.

Yesterday Shea got rained out, so he worked on the house. He finished putting up all the panelling for everything but the master bedroom and sanding the bathroom walls. Now we have to paint the panelling, put up molding to hide the seams, primer and paint the bathroom, buy panelling for the master bedroom, put it up and put molding up at the top and the corners I think hopefully not the seams. Get a blue roof on (tarp) or get the new roof on, then the carpet can go in. We have to lay tile in the utility room after the roof stops leaking, and in the three finished closets then the carepet can go in, forgot about that. Then we can move into the back half of the house... carpet yay! heat even better.

Most of my high school life went much like that, though the rumors that started from the Senior Prom were quite far-fetched. Why I even went to the Senior Prom I’ll have no idea, but when Jaime asked me there wasn’t much to say other than yes. Jaime Grant was a blond hair blue eyed hunk of a boy. He was the Captain of the Football team and I was nothing. Well, I was a bully, or so everyone thought. Jaime has just broken up with Sara Wright and was using me to get back at her. At the age of 16 what can a girl do when the hottest looking guy in school asks you to the Prom, even though you know why he’s asking you.

It took me three weeks to find a dress that I felt comfortable in. It wasn’t very fancy but it fit me well and it didn’t cost much. But I of course had to play the part everyone thought of me. It really is no wonder they always believed the rumors and the school news letter, it was always more fun to be the bad girl. The dress was very form defining – white lace bodice that was almost see-through, and it was in some parts, but carefully concealed my nipples from view, other wise I might not have been let into the establishment in the first place. The remaining part of the dress was made of a black silk gauze that came very close to being transparent. There was nothing left to the imagination; you could see every curve of my body in the right light. The dress was strapless and when Jaime came to my house to pick me up his jaw nearly dropped. Thankfully my parents weren’t home to see me off, they had already gone out for the night because I had made sure that the lighting in the house would make Jaime see exactly what I wanted him to see as I walked down the stairs.

I was glad to have impressed Jaime, he even gave me a small kiss on the neck when he pinned the corsage on my bodice. He fondled me a little too much, but wearing what I was I didn’t expect much less. Actually I expected a lot more.

The prom was held in the Marriot’s conference hall. They Seniors had paid a professional decorator to manage the entire theme for the prom. No one knew what it was going to look like. When Jaime and I walked into the hall we were stunned at the beauty of the decorations. No expenses were shared when it came to table settings, all the vases were gold and silver filled with exotic flowers. I don’t think anyone with out a horticulture degree would have been able to name off even one of the flowers in the vases. Jaime slung his arm around my shoulders and dragged me around to mingle with his friends. The lights were low enough that most of the guys didn’t get the look Jaime had, but Jaime knew what he had with him at the moment and he intended to flaunt it with style.

I can’t say that the Prom was all that horrible. Jaime and I danced. We danced a lot, the chaperones even had to break us up at one point because of the dancing we were doing. If there was an easy way to describe it, it would have to be vertical sex. Jaime was a good kisser, I’ll give him that. Every kiss made me shutter. And it was no surprise when he asked me to go upstairs with him. I’d been giving him all the signals that I intended for something to happen tonight – rumors be damned. And that’s exactly what happened, rumors and all.

Jaime had already paid for a hotel room, so all we had to do was go upstairs to it. The elevator ride almost got us thrown out of the room the way we were ravishing each other’s bodies. I wasn’t even drunk yet and I wanted to be in Jaime’s bed. It’s amazing what the bad girl image will do to a girl who’s never had sex before. But this was a once in a life time opportunity and I intended to exploit Jaime as much as he did me.

When we’d finally got to the tenth floor of the Marriot, Jaime and I were very ready to be removing our clothes. But Jaime being captain of the football team was too popular for his own good, a bunch of his football buddies and their dates had already made it upstairs, just in time for Jaime to open his door for them to see the booze and pot he’d stashed in there before picking me up. It was time for a party. Jaime took it in stride, he was use to them being around all the time. I on the other hand seriously wanted to get laid, and my feelings weren’t getting considered.

Though after a few drinks and a few hits of the joint they were passing around I wasn’t caring who watched. I did manage to stay in my clothes long enough for Jaime to kick his friends out. Once we were finally alone Jaime unzipped my dress and stood me in front of the full length mirror and we both watched as the dress slipped off my body. The lace was itchy and so was the silk gauze it was good to get out of it, but it felt even better as Jaime ran his hands down my side.

I watched as he touched me from chest to groin. I leaned back against him and could feel how hard he was as he pressed himself up against my back side. I was still wearing thigh high panty hose, a garter and a black lace thong – bought specifically for Jaime to take off and he did. He kissed my ass as he pulled the thong off of me. The rest he said he wanted to leave on, it was sexy he claimed. I however didn’t mind what he did at the time.

I’d love to tell you my first sexual experience was wonderful and that Jaime was a wonderful lover, but the truth is he wasn’t, though no one would ever believe me. Jaime felt his way around my body as if he really knew what he was doing. Perhaps he did understand the underlying needs of a woman. His fingers played with my nipples as he kissed my neck and shoulder. His other hand found it’s way between my legs. This was a totally new experience for me and I enjoyed his caressing. His fingers caressed my insides and I was helpless to his touch. My body quaked as he made me reach orgasm for the first time with a boy. Yes, with a boy, I don’t know a single teenager who never explored their own sexuality in the form of masturbation.

Jaime went back to the bed and told me to bend over in front of the mirror. I did as he asked and I watched him undress from my new vantage point. He was ready, very ready. And that was probably the reason that once he entered me it was over in two quick movements from behind. I was left wanting more as he collapsed on top of me. He never apologized to me, he only spread wild rumors that I was a tease and I wouldn’t put out. The rumors were only present to keep his own inadequacies a secret, no one would believe me anyway, I had no real close friends to stick up for me, it was his word against mine. And I had the weaker voice in the school, I was just thankful that it didn’t make it into print.

High School

I attended East High for three years. My parents made sure that I kept my grades up despite all the trouble I appeared to get into and I had enough credits to graduate early. Thought most of the neighbors thought I was kicked out of school for things I really had no part in, but that’s the danger of being labeled a bully.

I really wasn’t a bully, I was bullied, but because I always won the fights others started with me, I was the bully. My freshman year in high school wasn’t easy on me, but it wasn’t easy on most of the freshman I knew either. Jack Trent was the boy who started all the rumors and all the fuss about me, Claire Valentine, a mere 4 foot 6 inches tall weighting in at maybe 90 pounds, being a bully. Jack was the bully of all bullies until I showed him up, then he was just an instigator from then on out.

Jack was a sophomore. He had a lot of upper classmen for friends because he was the only sophomore on the Varsity football team, so he had a lot of pull in the school. And he used it mercilessly. One day Jack decided it would be a good idea to try and stuff me in my locker. I wasn’t such an easy target and Jack ended up with a broken and I got detention for it. But that wasn’t how the story went in the School Newspaper. The headline read “Who Hurt Jack?” It really was quite the tall tale, but I’ll let you read it.

Who Hurt Jack?

Jack Trent, star football player was tussled last week putting him out of the game for at least two weeks. The team lost the games that Jack had missed all because Ms. Claire Valentine wanted Jack to do her homework. Eye witnesses saw Ms. Valentine punch Jack in the face when he refused to write an English paper for her. The blow broke his cute little button nose and it’ll never be the same again.

Ms Valentine was sentenced to two weeks of detention for this act of violence against Jack. But I think it was too lenient, it should have resulted in suspension from school, but Principal Harrison wouldn’t take the petition we had signed by the entire student body.

Parts of the article are true. Yes, I did punch Jack in the nose and it did break. I have no shame for defending myself. Those so called eye witnesses were no where to be seen. I had no one on my side that could vouch it was in self defense so all of Jack’s friends were able to write whatever they felt like writing. The foot ball team did lose two of the three games Jack didn’t play in, but not because Jack wasn’t there. They just got beat, but they had to make me look bad and make the school feel sorry for poor little Jack.

From then on out I was deemed a bully and whenever any of Jacks friends got hurt I was to blame. They even published an article in the paper telling the freshman to watch out for me when the next year started. Jack was the one who started all the trouble, but he persuaded the freshman ever so nicely, yeah right, that Claire Valentine was the one who stole their lunch money or gave them a wedgie that went to the high heavens. Jack had a lot of influence in the school, but that was as far as it ever went. When last I had heard Jack Trent was a janitor at the local grocery store, never amounting to much because he was too lazy and he felt he was gypped out of football scholarship. He really wasn’t that good.

You ever wonder why the good guys always win in the movies. Or why you never actually hear both sides of the story in the news? I find it frustrating, myself that everything is so one sided. My life, unfortunately, has two sides to it, though no one ever asked me my side of the story they assume that the rumors and articles are all true and that I’m the person these things claim I am. To some extent I am, but its still unfair to proclaim that Claire Valentine is a bad person. I’m not a bad person, my job requires me to do things that most men and women would call bad, but I’m doing a job that needs doing regardless of whether or not my employers are doing it for the right reason.

There are always two sides to every story but even history is one sided. Take the Civil War for instance, most high school graduates of have studying the war. But a vast majority of those people didn’t hear the other side of the story. It’s always the war against the South – a group of fanatics who wanted slavery and wanted to break away from the Union and make their own nation. Sure that’s true, but did you know that the South calls the Civil War the War of Northern Aggression. The high school students in the South don’t study the Civil War like every other person does; they study about the War of Northern Aggression. And I’m sure that the Indians and the English don’t have the same out look on any of the wars waged against them either.

We don’t always hear both sides of the story. Why? Are we trying to hide something or are we just trying to give the better outlook on things, that there really isn’t anything good that came from it. We may never know the answer. But I want to shed some light on the things in my life, give you my side of the story, and not what you’ve heard or read about in the newspaper.

I am Claire Valentine. I was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. My parents have lived in the same house since before I was born. The house isn’t much, but it fit us well. My biggest memories are of the rail road tracks that ran behind our house. You do forget the train if you live there long enough, even when it comes blaring through town quarter to two every morning.

I lived a normal life up until I went into the Marines, but I’ll get into that a bit later. I’m currently an Assassin-for-hire. Yes, you heard me right I kill people for a living. I’ve a cover story that suits me just fine, and allows me to move as I’m needed. The media has nicknamed me the Shadow. I’m guessing it’s because the only real shots they have of any of work for my clients is always just a shadow at the edge of a camera.

I no longer live in Wichita. I don’t want to put my family in jeopardy for the things I’ve seen and done, even though things will get tough for them in the end, when it’s all said and done. It’s a long story, my life. There’s no easy place to begin trying to correct some of the views people have of me.

I guess the best place to start is High School.